The "I try it again in six months" philosophy

20 Apr 2014

If you know me for a long time, you probably have heard this sentence from me at least once: "I will try that again in a few months". It's one of the most important things for me to keep up with technology.

I stumble upon new software and development concepts on a weekly basis. But sometimes it's not ready for prime time. An early alpha with tons of bugs is not the same as the final product. To judge a product just on that is a little bit unfair. Or I don't have use for a concept right now, but I think it could be interesting for me later on.

Most people would try an alpha, see it's buggy and forget the software. But it doesn't need to be that way. If you find something interesting, simply remind yourself a little bit later. Maybe the software got usable after six months. Or you finally found a usage for a concept.

Right now I have three piles for stuff I found interesting:

  • Pile 1: Needs to be investigated when I have more time. For example on a nice Sunday morning with a hot chocolate.
  • Pile 2: Not 100% ready yet. Check it again in 3 months
  • Pile 3: Sounds promising, but needs more time. Check back in 6 months

These rules are not set in stone. Sometimes I put something in one pile and move it to another one a few weeks later. Just make sure that you scroll through those lists on a regular basis. Currently I am using Trello to keep track of these three piles. And it's perfect for that stuff.

And yes, sometimes a promising software doesn't deliver after six more months. Or you loose interest in a topic after a few months. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that you gave it a second try. Or a third one.

The first time Docker scrolled through my time line, it was way to early to use it. The infrastructure around it was not mature enough. But now it's one of the hottest things on the block. I kept looking at it's progress on a monthly basis because of my list.

Another example is NeoVim. Right now they have lots of refactoring ahead of them. It will need some time to get a usable thing out of it, but I will keep on looking into it because it's in one of my piles.

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